What's In, What's Out for 2013

In: Northern lights. Out: City lights. The year ahead is filled with up-and-coming travel trends to watch. Find out Travel Channel's picks for what's hot (and what's not) in 2013.

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Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show
Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

Love dogs? Celebrate man’s best friend, in all his tail-wagging glory, at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. The 2-day event features more than 2,700 pooches going tail to tail to win the coveted Best in Breed title … but only one will be named “America’s Dog.”
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REUTERS/Carlo Allegri  

Auckland Lantern Festival (New Zealand)

Auckland Lantern Festival (New Zealand)

Enjoy cool summer breezes, and a fresh start, at the Auckland Lantern Festival in New Zealand. Now in its 15th year, this lively annual bash, which comes at the tail end of New Zealand’s summer, celebrates the Chinese New Year with hundreds of lanterns lit up around town. So book a ticket, and ring in the Year of the Horse. 
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Kitt Foo, flickr  

NYC Fashion Week

NYC Fashion Week

See fashion’s best strut their stuff at NY Fashion Week. The Big Apple’s trendiest event of the year usually kicks off during during the first or second week in February. Who will dazzle this year’s list of fashion editors and celebrity guests? Cross over the East River to find out.
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REUTERS/Keith Bedford  

Super Bowl XLIX (Phoenix, AZ)

Super Bowl XLIX (Phoenix, AZ)

Are you ready for some football? Then, get ready for biggest game of the year … The Super Bowl. Watch the NFC and AFC champions go head to head to win bragging rights and more importantly, the NFL championship title. 960 1280

Mark Cornelison/MCT/Getty Images  

Valentine’s Day … on the Run

Valentine’s Day … on the Run

Strip down, and start running, for a good cause on Valentine’s Day. The Annual Cupid’s Undie Run gets thousands of people decked out in their bedroom best to raise awareness for the Children’s Tumor Foundation. 960 1280

Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post via Getty Images  

National Margarita Day … Everywhere!

National Margarita Day … Everywhere!

Get your tequila and limes out for National Margarita Day! Whether you’re kicking back on a tropical beach in Mexico or lazing around at home with friends, this revered day offers the perfect excuse to shake it, pour it and sip it to your heart’s content. For a little inspiration, see what goes into making a world-class margarita, too. 960 1280

Christian Wheatley  

Daytona 500

Daytona 500

Rev up for the Daytona 500 this month. The Great American Race kicks off at the Daytona International Speedway in late February, and just as it has since 1959, the annual event promises plenty of high-speed turns, with star drivers like Kyle Larson hitting the track. 960 1280

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images  

Sapporo Snow Festival (Japan)

Sapporo Snow Festival (Japan)

For an extraordinary take on winter, head to Japan for one of the country’s largest winter events. The annual Sapporo Snow Festival unfolds over 7 days, with plenty of big wintry attractions, from snow statues to ice sculptures, taking center stage in Japan’s fourth-largest city.
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© Yuriko Nakao / Reuters  

Saranac Lake Winter Carnival (New York)

Saranac Lake Winter Carnival (New York)

Closer to home enjoy a winter wonderland, New York-style. Since its start back in 1897, the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival has grown into one of the oldest winter carnivals in America. The 10-day event showcases plenty of winter magic, from an ice palace made from blocks of ice to the coronation of a winter carnival king and queen. 960 1280

Mark Kurtz, Saranac Lake   

Carnival in Rio

Carnival in Rio

Round out the month with a sexy trip to the Carnival capital of the world. Come February, some 2 million people flock to Rio’s streets to celebrate the steamy festival leading up to Lent. Make sure to bring your bikini; February is one of the hottest months in this stretch of the Southern Hemisphere. 960 1280

Alexandro Auler/LatinContent/Getty Images   

Colosseum

Colosseum

Rome's most enduring icon is undoubtedly its Colosseum. 960 1280

Sborisov / iStock / Thinkstock  

Colosseum

Colosseum

Built between A.D. 70 and 80 A.D., it was in use for some 500 years and sat nearly 50,000 spectators.
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Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

Peru's Machu Picchu is thought to have been a sacred center for the nearby Incan capital of Cusco. 960 1280

Vitmark / iStock / Getty Images  

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

A close up of the living quarters of Machu Picchu, built at the peak of the Incan Empire in the mid-1400s.
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Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza

The genius and adaptability of Mayan culture can be seen in the ruins of Chichen Itza, on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. 960 1280

Robivamos / iStock / Thinkstock  

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza

The most familiar ruin at the site is El Caracol, a sophisticated astronomical observatory.
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Carlos Delgado [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons  

El-Deir Monastery

El-Deir Monastery

Structures carved into stone and the El-Deir monastery have helped Petra, Jordan, earn its fame 960 1280

Reynold Mainse / Design Pics / Perspective / Getty Images  

El-Deir Monastery

El-Deir Monastery

El-Deir was built during the first century and is the second most visited building in Petra.
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Bernard Gagnon (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons  

Great Wall of China

Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China is actually a succession of walls spanning approximately 4,000 miles. 960 1280

topgold via [CC BY-SA 2.0]  

Great Wall of China

Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China is the world’s longest manmade structure.
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Georgio (Own work (Photo personnelle)) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons  

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal

Agra, India's Taj Mahal is a mausoleum commissioned for the wife of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. 960 1280

Turtix / iStock / Getty Images  

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal

The Gateway to the Taj Mahal rises nearly 100-feet high and separates the gardens from the forecourt.
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Christ the Redeemer

Christ the Redeemer

The Christ the Redeemer statue has loomed over Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from upon Corcovado mountain since 1931. 960 1280

Christian Adams / Getty Images  

Christ the Redeemer

Christ the Redeemer

The Art Deco-style Christ the Redeemer statue lights up the sky.
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Otavio Campos (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons  

Florence, Italy
Florence, Italy

Florence, Italy

“For a taste of some serious amore, jet-set to the city of Firenze, where couples canoodle in piazzas, sharing bites of creamy gelato and soaking up the warm sunshine. Stroll across the quaint Ponte Vecchio with your someone special-- perhaps they’ll splurge on a gift from one of the iconic jewelry shops that line the bridge. Single women, beware: As you wander the streets, you’re sure to hear an Italian man call out to you, “Excuse me, I think you dropped something!” When you turn around, concerned and confused, they’ll laugh and say, ‘You dropped my heart!’” -- Allee, Producer 960 1280

Getty Images  

Santa Monica, California

Santa Monica, California

“My favorite thing about spring is the changing of the weather, so I choose to be outside and by the water. My ideal spot for a spring fling would be Santa Monica, CA. I love Santa Monica’s quieter areas, away from the hustle and bustle of the boardwalk area, with lesser-known yet out-of-this-world restaurants that are home to memorable dishes. My first time having barbecued tofu was off the city’s Main Street. The restaurant, located behind a wooden fence, had no name on the front. Ask around. Folks will know!” -- Rani, Managing Producer 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Joe's Valley, Utah

Joe's Valley, Utah

“Spring is the perfect time for a climbing adventure in Joe’s Valley, Utah. With ideal springtime temps, this is the best season to enjoy bouldering, camping and other outdoor fun. Located about 2 hours north of Moab, this is one of the world’s premier bouldering destinations, offering hundreds of sandstone boulders for climbers ranging from novice to professional. There is no better place to see the beauty of Southern Utah.” -- Arthur, Video Project Manager 960 1280

Arthur Hsu  

Charleston

Charleston

"Blooming magnolia trees and 75 to 80 degree weather make Charleston a great spring destination. You'll enjoy a mix of lowcountry culture, mouthwatering cuisine and beautiful beaches. And what could feel more like spring than strolling through garden plantations sipping on a sweet tea cocktail? It seems we aren't the only ones who have this Southern belle on our radar lately. Conde Nast Traveler's Readers' Choice Awards just named Charleston the 'No.1 City in America.'" -- Kathleen, Producer 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

“When picking my perfect spring fling, my choice would have to be a road trip to Myrtle Beach. With over 100 courses, this stretch of coastal South Carolina is one of, if not the premier, destination for golf on the East Coast. Grab a few sixers, light up a couple of cigars and hit the links with some of your closest buddies -- it's the ideal mancation spring fling.” -- Ben, Producer 960 1280

Getty Images  

Paris

Paris

"I never knew the charm of spring … till April in Paris." American songwriter Vernon Duke's famous lyrics about the City of Light are so true. Paris' charm lies in its beautiful gardens, like the Jardin des Tuileries, where it's not uncommon to see couples and a group of good friends lying on the grass, chatting, sipping wine and snacking on a fresh baguette and cheese. Take a stroll by the Seine, visit the open-air market on Rue Montorgueil or people watch outside a café in Le Marais. Romance and a fun adventure are always around the corner no matter where you are in this historic city." -- Kwin, Managing Producer 960 1280

istock  

Washington, DC

Washington, DC

“Spring is a great time to visit DC’s National Mall. Enjoy a relaxing stroll along the Tidal Basin, the reservoir bordered by thousands of cherry blossoms in full bloom this time of year. Also, be sure not to miss the Tulip Library on the north side of the basin, where you’ll find nearly 100 varieties of tulips. And come nighttime, stop by the World War II Memorial, where you can sit by the edge of the cascading fountain at its center, resting your head on the shoulder of your evening date … who may just turn into more than a spring fling.” -- Lisa, Producer 960 1280

Thinkstock  

San Francisco

San Francisco

"My latest spring fling took me to San Francisco -- a city ideal for any gastronomically-inclined couple, thanks to its plethora of great dinner date spots. From the hole-in-the-wall Ramen Underground to the farm-to-table-fresh Super Duper Burger, you'll indulge in basically the best food ever. After stopping for tea and cookies at the picturesque Japanese Tea Garden and a scoop of "Chocolate Smoked Sea Salt" ice cream at Humphry Slocombe, go for a bike ride down the Embarcadero or head back across the Golden Gate Bridge for a hike through the Marin Headlands to work off your week of foodie fun." -- Amanda, Producer 960 1280

Amanda DiGiondomenico  

Charlottesville, Virginia

Charlottesville, Virginia

"I've heralded Charlottesville's charms before, but hear me out on why this college town is the perfect springtime getaway. Starting in April, you can catch the free concert series, Fridays After Five, and then dine alfresco on the Historic Downtown Mall. Round out the weekend with a bagel at Bodo's, a historic tour of Monticello and a drink on the patio of Blue Mountain Brewery or glass of wine at King Family Vineyards, with the Blue Ridge Mountains just beyond." - Sara, Producer 960 1280

istock  

Photos

Florence, Italy

Florence, Italy

“For a taste of some serious amore, jet-set to the city of Firenze, where couples canoodle in piazzas, sharing bites of creamy gelato and soaking up the warm sunshine. Stroll across the quaint Ponte Vecchio with your someone special-- perhaps they’ll splurge on a gift from one of the iconic jewelry shops that line the bridge. Single women, beware: As you wander the streets, you’re sure to hear an Italian man call out to you, “Excuse me, I think you dropped something!” When you turn around, concerned and confused, they’ll laugh and say, ‘You dropped my heart!’” -- Allee, Producer 960 1280

Getty Images  

Santa Monica, California

Santa Monica, California

“My favorite thing about spring is the changing of the weather, so I choose to be outside and by the water. My ideal spot for a spring fling would be Santa Monica, CA. I love Santa Monica’s quieter areas, away from the hustle and bustle of the boardwalk area, with lesser-known yet out-of-this-world restaurants that are home to memorable dishes. My first time having barbecued tofu was off the city’s Main Street. The restaurant, located behind a wooden fence, had no name on the front. Ask around. Folks will know!” -- Rani, Managing Producer 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Joe's Valley, Utah

Joe's Valley, Utah

“Spring is the perfect time for a climbing adventure in Joe’s Valley, Utah. With ideal springtime temps, this is the best season to enjoy bouldering, camping and other outdoor fun. Located about 2 hours north of Moab, this is one of the world’s premier bouldering destinations, offering hundreds of sandstone boulders for climbers ranging from novice to professional. There is no better place to see the beauty of Southern Utah.” -- Arthur, Video Project Manager 960 1280

Arthur Hsu  

Charleston

Charleston

"Blooming magnolia trees and 75 to 80 degree weather make Charleston a great spring destination. You'll enjoy a mix of lowcountry culture, mouthwatering cuisine and beautiful beaches. And what could feel more like spring than strolling through garden plantations sipping on a sweet tea cocktail? It seems we aren't the only ones who have this Southern belle on our radar lately. Conde Nast Traveler's Readers' Choice Awards just named Charleston the 'No.1 City in America.'" -- Kathleen, Producer 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

“When picking my perfect spring fling, my choice would have to be a road trip to Myrtle Beach. With over 100 courses, this stretch of coastal South Carolina is one of, if not the premier, destination for golf on the East Coast. Grab a few sixers, light up a couple of cigars and hit the links with some of your closest buddies -- it's the ideal mancation spring fling.” -- Ben, Producer 960 1280

Getty Images  

Paris

Paris

"I never knew the charm of spring … till April in Paris." American songwriter Vernon Duke's famous lyrics about the City of Light are so true. Paris' charm lies in its beautiful gardens, like the Jardin des Tuileries, where it's not uncommon to see couples and a group of good friends lying on the grass, chatting, sipping wine and snacking on a fresh baguette and cheese. Take a stroll by the Seine, visit the open-air market on Rue Montorgueil or people watch outside a café in Le Marais. Romance and a fun adventure are always around the corner no matter where you are in this historic city." -- Kwin, Managing Producer 960 1280

istock  

Washington, DC

Washington, DC

“Spring is a great time to visit DC’s National Mall. Enjoy a relaxing stroll along the Tidal Basin, the reservoir bordered by thousands of cherry blossoms in full bloom this time of year. Also, be sure not to miss the Tulip Library on the north side of the basin, where you’ll find nearly 100 varieties of tulips. And come nighttime, stop by the World War II Memorial, where you can sit by the edge of the cascading fountain at its center, resting your head on the shoulder of your evening date … who may just turn into more than a spring fling.” -- Lisa, Producer 960 1280

Thinkstock  

San Francisco

San Francisco

"My latest spring fling took me to San Francisco -- a city ideal for any gastronomically-inclined couple, thanks to its plethora of great dinner date spots. From the hole-in-the-wall Ramen Underground to the farm-to-table-fresh Super Duper Burger, you'll indulge in basically the best food ever. After stopping for tea and cookies at the picturesque Japanese Tea Garden and a scoop of "Chocolate Smoked Sea Salt" ice cream at Humphry Slocombe, go for a bike ride down the Embarcadero or head back across the Golden Gate Bridge for a hike through the Marin Headlands to work off your week of foodie fun." -- Amanda, Producer 960 1280

Amanda DiGiondomenico  

Charlottesville, Virginia

Charlottesville, Virginia

"I've heralded Charlottesville's charms before, but hear me out on why this college town is the perfect springtime getaway. Starting in April, you can catch the free concert series, Fridays After Five, and then dine alfresco on the Historic Downtown Mall. Round out the weekend with a bagel at Bodo's, a historic tour of Monticello and a drink on the patio of Blue Mountain Brewery or glass of wine at King Family Vineyards, with the Blue Ridge Mountains just beyond." - Sara, Producer 960 1280

istock  

Presidential Inauguration

Presidential Inauguration

“Faith in America’s Future” was the theme of America’s 57th presidential inauguration. In a nod to 2 big milestones -- the 150th anniversary of both the Emancipation Proclamation and the Capitol dome’s completion -- the Washington, DC, festivities culminated in President Obama’s public swearing-in ceremony on the Capitol’s west side. 960 1280

Reuters  

One World Trade Center

One World Trade Center

Out of the ashes, a resilient triumph: In November One World Trade Center was officially named the tallest building in North America. The height of One World Trade Center was purposely set at 1,776 feet, in tribute to America’s Declaration of Independence and the nearly 3,000 Americans who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Prince George of Cambridge

Prince George of Cambridge

Royal baby mania gripped the world, as news crews waited outside London’s St. Mary’s Hospital for news of Kate and William’s royal delivery. Initial reports of a baby girl were quickly put to rest once the easel outside Buckingham Palace delivered the July 22 news: George Alexander Louis had arrived. 960 1280

Reuters  

Breaking Bad Tours

Breaking Bad Tours

It’s not every day that a city embraces its image as a meth-producing drug haven, unless, of course, that city is the subject of one of the most popular dramas of all time. Breaking Bad put Albuquerque on the map in a big way, and while Walt and Jesse’s adventures have ended, don’t count on Breaking Bad tours to follow suit anytime soon. 960 1280

ABQ Trolley Co.  

Government Shutdown, Blue Ridge Parkway

Government Shutdown, Blue Ridge Parkway

For the first time in 17 years, the US government shut down in October, and for the next 3 weeks, the nation watched as America’s national parks and memorials were barricaded. The grim news turned the spotlight on state parks nationwide, as well as the Blue Ridge Parkway, where travelers could still find reprieve. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Gettysburg Anniversary

Gettysburg Anniversary

At just under 300 words, the Gettysburg Address summed up what was at stake in the Civil War, and what the death of tens of thousands of young men could ultimately mean to a hurting nation. In November the town of Gettysburg celebrated Lincoln’s words, months after having marked the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. 960 1280

Reuters  

London Underground Anniversary

London Underground Anniversary

London had its own big 150th anniversary to celebrate this year, with the London Underground – the world’s first underground railway – marking its historic birthday. Various events throughout London have marked the Tube’s 150th anniversary, including a restored antique railway that traveled the same path as the Tube did back in 1863. 960 1280

iStock  

Pope Francis, Vatican City Tour

Pope Francis, Vatican City Tour

In a shock to the world, Pope Benedict abruptly resigned in February, becoming the first pope to do so in nearly 600 years. But then the world got a look at affable Pope Francis, originally from Argentina, and an upbeat air returned to this fascinating city-state within Italy, along with renewed interest in Vatican City tours. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Miss America, Atlantic City

Miss America, Atlantic City

It was exciting enough that the historic Miss America pageant returned to Atlantic City for the first time in 6 years. Then the pageant got even cooler when 2013’s winner turned out to be the first-ever Miss America of Indian descent: New York native Nina Davuluri. 960 1280

Getty Images  

JFK Assassination Anniversary, Dallas

JFK Assassination Anniversary, Dallas

A dark day in Dallas, and the nation’s history, was relived in late November, as somber crowds gathered in Dealey Plaza to remember America’s 35th president. This year marked the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination, sparking epic reminiscences of how life changed that day. 960 1280

Reuters  

Grand Central Terminal

Grand Central Terminal

In the 1970s, Grand Central Terminal was slated for demolition, until Jackie Kennedy joined in the effort to help save the iconic NYC train terminal. February marked Grand Central’s 100th anniversary, and with it, the continuation of a NYC landmark that sees some 700,000 commuters a day. 960 1280

Reuters  

Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Beating out some formidable competition (Istanbul and Madrid), Tokyo landed a big win in September: For the first time since 1964, Japan’s capital got the nod to host the Summer Olympic Games. Slated for 2020, the games will unfold in Tokyo’s revamped National Olympic Stadium. 960 1280

Reuters  

Bret Michaels on Travel Channel

Bret Michaels on Travel Channel

In May, legendary rocker Bret Michaels traded in his mic for a sledgehammer and a whole new venture. As host of Travel Channel’s Rock My RV, Bret brought his passion for RVs to Travel’s audience, and proved that America’s favorite bandana-wearing rocker knows how to rock it in more ways than one. 960 1280

CARIN_BAER  

Hyperloop

Hyperloop

No, it’s not Blade Runner, it’s better: The futuristic Hyperloop will transport passengers in under 30 minutes between San Francisco and Los Angeles. The vision of billionaire Elon Musk, which he unveiled in August, the solar-powered transportation system is slated to take off once California state government approves the project. For commuters who must currently brave a 6-hour commute, that may not be a moment too soon. 960 1280

Elon Musk  

Obamas in Ireland

Obamas in Ireland

First Lady Michelle Obama’s paid a visit to the Emerald Isle in June with daughters Sasha and Malia. Part of the Obamas’ 2-day Ireland trip included a visit to the valley of Glendalough, in County Wicklow, where they met with local tour guide George McClafferty. No word on whether he sang, “There’s No One as Irish as Barack Obama,” to them in honor of the president’s Irish roots. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Ghost Adventures in Transylvania

Ghost Adventures in Transylvania

In October, Ghost Adventures ushered in its 100th episode in a monumental way, becoming the very first paranormal TV program to investigate the St. Louis home that inspired The Exorcist movie and novel. The crew followed up the 100th episode with another big turn, heading to Transylvania for Halloween. 960 1280

  

Nik Wallenda's Grand Canyon Walk

Nik Wallenda's Grand Canyon Walk

Plenty of nail-biting moments unfolded during the live broadcast of Nik Wallenda’s high-wire act near the Grand Canyon in June. The self-proclaimed “King of the Wire” walked across the Little Colorado River Gorge outside Grand Canyon National Park's borders, in under 25 minutes, with no safety harness. Can we say insane? 960 1280

Getty Images   

Boston World Series

Boston World Series

A city shaken by the Boston Marathon bombing in April rebounded with a bittersweet win in October, when the Boston Red Sox scored 3 runs in the third inning and 3 in the fourth to defeat St. Louis and win the World Series. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Philippines Typhoon

Philippines Typhoon

The Philippines suffered its most devastating loss in early November, when Typhoon Haiyan made landfall, killing nearly 10,000 people in what would become the deadliest typhoon in the Philippines’ history. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, Antarctica

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, Antarctica

The world’s sexiest models, across 7 continents. Sports Illustrated celebrated its 50th anniversary year in style 2013’s SI Swimsuit edition, with one eye-catching look of Kate Upton going polar bare in Antarctica. We went undercover ourselves, revealing SI’s sexiest models’ sexiest destination picks. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

Celebrate the homegrown music and culture of the Big Easy at this annual jazz fest. This year’s lineup showcases old and new music greats, including John Mayer, the Dave Matthews Band, Earth, Wind & Fire, Fleetwood Mac, Maroon 5, The Black Keys, Patti Smith, Gipsy Kings and blues legend B.B. King. 960 1280

Rick Diamond/Getty Images  

Patrouille des Glaciers

Patrouille des Glaciers

Take in Switzerland’s grand vistas in this ski mountaineering race. Held every 2 years at the end of April, the nearly 32-mile-long race organized by the Swiss Army occurs in the southern part of the canton of Valais, below the summits of Switzerland’s Pennine Alps. By foot and ski, this mountaineering trek will be one for the memory books. 960 1280

FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images  

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival

Head to Southern California’s Coachella Valley for this 3-day music fest. This year’s featured performers include alternative rock pioneers like The Stone Roses and Red Hot Chili Peppers. It also pays to think green: Drive to the event with 4 or more people in your car, marked “carpoolchella,” and a secret spotter may give everyone in the car VIP tickets. 960 1280

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic  

Earth Day

Earth Day

Be part of an awe-inspiring effort: Every year more than 1 billion people worldwide gather to protect Mother Earth. Held on April 22, this global campaign unites individuals, communities and more in an effort to combat climate change. In the weeks beforehand, another global event occurs: Earth Hour, in which individuals from more than 135 countries gather in a show of solidarity to protect the environment, as in this shot taken in Dubai. 960 1280

Reuters/Jumana El Heloueh   

Amsterdam’s Tulip Season

Amsterdam’s Tulip Season

Take in the breathtaking burst of color at Amsterdam’s Keukenhof Gardens. The world’s largest flower garden spans 70 acres, with more than 7 million bulbs in bloom come springtime: In addition to tulips, visitors can enjoy gardens of daffodils, hyacinths, gladioli and hyacinths -- you’ll want to make sure your camera phone has plenty of juice to capture this show. 960 1280

iStock   

Arctic Circle Race

Arctic Circle Race

Ready for a seriously awe-inspiring challenge? This annual skiing race is billed as “world’s toughest ski race” -- and that’s no exaggeration. Held in Sisimiut, Greenland, this extreme cross-country skiing event sees participants traverse nearly 100 miles, over the course of 3 days, through the stunning and sometimes harsh Greenlandic terrain. 960 1280

Article Circle Race   

Iceland’s First Day of Summer

Iceland’s First Day of Summer

With winter days that offer only 4 or 5 hours of daylight, the coming of summer is welcomed as a national holiday in Iceland. Even though the climate in late April isn’t summer-like just yet, after a long winter it’s still a welcome reprieve -- and the perfect excuse for Icelanders to celebrate with a lineup of parades, sporting events and other outdoor fun -- pony ride, anyone? 960 1280

Getty Images  

NCAA Final Four

NCAA Final Four

From awe-inspiring blocks to incredible dunks, see the most dramatic moments in men’s college basketball play out at Atlanta’s Georgia Dome this April. See the dizzying speed of March Madness conclude as the Final Four vie for the championship trophy. And the winner is …? 960 1280

Getty Images  

Masters Tournament

Masters Tournament

One of the 4 big-daddy events in professional golf, the Masters is the place to be this month for golf pros and enthusiasts alike. With Augusta National Golf Club as the home base, this year’s event is sure to hold plenty of nail-biting moments, like whether Tiger Woods can end his 5-year majors slump with a win on golf’s biggest stage. 960 1280

Andrew Redington/Getty Images  

Berck-Sur-Mer Kite Festival

Berck-Sur-Mer Kite Festival

See Europe’s biggest kite festival soar to astounding heights. Held annually in the French commune of Berck-sur-Mer, along northern France’s Opal Coast, the event draws kite fliers from all over the world, who dazzle with colorful, air-borne creations before crowds of roughly 600,000 spectators. 960 1280

PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images  

National Park Week

National Park Week

Incredible natural beauty is yours -- for free -- during National Park Week in late April. Enjoy free entrance to any of 401 national parks nationwide, taking in the sights of seashores, battlefields, archaeological sites, historic homes and magnificent natural wonders such as the many countless waterfalls at Yosemite National Park. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Boston Marathon

Boston Marathon

Few endurance competitions are more awe-inspiring than this: The world’s oldest annual marathon -- and one of the world’s most prestigious road-racing events -- held the third Monday of April, on Patriots’ Day. Here, Canada’s Joshua Cassidy races to the finish line in the men’s wheelchair race. 960 1280

John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images  

Biltmore Flower Festival

Biltmore Flower Festival

How’s this for a majestic sight: more than 72,000 tulips, spanning 4 acres, at Biltmore Estate. The stately grounds, tucked in the mountains of Asheville, NC, include the Walled Garden, where you’ll find all those vibrant tulips, as well as the Azalea and Spring Gardens, where your eyes can gorge on even more blooms. 960 1280

The Biltmore Company  

Toonik Tyme

Toonik Tyme

Mind-blowing creations await at the annual Inuit festival of Toonik Tyme, a weeklong event that welcomes back the sun to the Arctic. But, being just 100 miles from the Arctic Circle, it’s still mighty cold: Among the event’s headliners is an ice sculpture competition in a town called Auyuittuq -- an Inuktitut word that means “the land that never melts.” In years past, ice-carving competitors have competed for what just may be the ultimate prize round this neck of the woods: airline tickets for a trip down south (naturally). 960 1280

Ed Maruyama  

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